It's a typical Thanksgiving toss-up: You want to show off the beautiful bird you've spent hours preparing, but carving at the table can be tricky and messy. "The whole turkey may look really pretty, but taking slices from the outside of the breast is difficult," says Cooking Light Test Kitchens staffer Sam Brannock. Instead, he recommends carving in the kitchen, especially if you're serving the bird sans skin. Here's his step-by-step guide to turkey carving.
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Use a chef's knife to remove half the breast by slicing along the breastbone's inside curve. Set each half-breast aside.
Pull back the wings and, using the knife, remove at the joint. Set aside.
Pull the leg and thigh back to expose the joint. Using the tip of the knife, follow the path of least resistance through the joint at its narrowest point. "You can see where the joint meets. Slice through the joint to make a clean break," Sam says. The thighs can be separated from the legs in the same way.
Slice the breast on the diagonal into quarter-inch-thick pieces. Using your knife like a spatula, pick up the entire breast and place it on a serving platter. Repeat the process for the other half of the breast. Then arrange the breast meat, wings, thighs, and legs on a platter, and decorate with roasted vegetables or your favorite garnish.
The result: A well-prepared turkey that's ready to serve, with no unsightly carcass cluttering the table.